Terence G. “Terry” Jackson

1949 – 2022

 “That dash is the abbreviated version of the time I’ve spent  on the green side of the big adios.

                      Like it or not, I’m about  to fill in that blank.” 


Terry Jackson was an acquired taste. Either you liked him or you didn’t and he preferred it that way. He had a big appetite for life and he had something to say about it. While he was waiting for the hearse, he decided his wasn’t going to be your typical fill in the blanks local newspaper obit and wrote down his thoughts and observations on many subjects that impacted his life. He wanted us to print the whole nine yards but the life insurance policy wasn’t enough to cover the cost of the whole nine yards so we selected A FEW THINGS that pretty much defined Terry.


“Makeup, dead, and in a suit just doesn’t work for me.”

“There will be no wake, funeral, or celebration of life. 12 minutes and 49 seconds would be ample visitation time for friends, relatives and those that just want to make sure I’m really dead. Why waste a good afternoon. Go have pizza and a beer at Sportsters instead. NO ONE knows how to mourn better than me!!!!”

He was born on December 9, 1949 in Dubuque, Iowa to George and Thelma (Stark) Jackson.       He had 2 older brothers; Fred and Alan.


“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

“I was almost 11 years younger than Alan and not the object of fatherly pride back in my teenage years. I worked at the family business long enough to hate it, leave it, and never look back. Since I didn’t work there very long it was assumed by many that there were only two Jackson sons but yes, George really did have a third son. We had different opinions on the consequences of my misspent youth and future employment opportunities. For the record, I saw it as an unconventional college education majoring in Life is Making the Most Out of a Bad Situation. It served me well, made me a more positive person than any institute of higher learning ever could.”


“If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you always got.”

He graduated from Dubuque Senior High in 1968. He was a member of Operating Engineers Local 234 on and off since 1970. He operated heavy equipment for several excavating and marine contractors over the years. He especially loved digging for Brecke Plumbing and Skyline Construction. He operated Jackson Excavating, full and part time from 1994 until he couldn’t do it anymore. He pulled the pin in 2022. He started a 3 year apprenticeship with Ironworkers Local 89 in 1977 and worked at the trade off and on until 2011 when he retired. His 2 career highlights were #1: Being one of the Ironworker connectors that erected the arches on the Dubuque Wisconsin Bridge and #2:  Being one of the only three white people on opening night in a very packed upscale black nightclub in North Omaha, “The Ramsey Lewis trio played some great 60’s & 70’s jazz sets. Man, those cats could cut a groove. We had to set ornamental brass handrails by closing or the city would shut them down. We started at 8:00 am strung it out until about midnight just to hear them play. It was a Friday night and Ramsey Lewis was booked through the weekend. Needless to say, the owners were more than a little anxious but the patrons were very accommodating. We had no problems at all. We left there well over the legal limit and never paid for one drink. The inspection passed with flying colors. I had a ball with those black patrons! If only the rest of the world could be like the patrons of that club that evening. Life would very be different, I’m sure.”

 He attended the Herzing Institute in Madison, graduating with a degree in Electronic Engineering Technology at age 37. He didn’t care much for the occupation after he worked at it for a while. He hated being micro managed, working inside, and office politics. “I’d rather succeed on my own terms than kiss an ass and succeed on theirs. He was a TV station engineer at TCI Cable, and a substation technician for Interstate Power. He owned and operated T J’s Video in East Dubuque and Tri State Video in Dubuque from 1986 to 1991. He bought old buildings, remodeled them, rented and sold them off over the years. Of all those occupations, he said the camaraderie he felt from fellow construction workers made work fun. After working at all those different occupations, the lure of high steel erection and operating heavy equipment always drew him back. He was a true construction tradesman at heart and he loved it.


“Till the end to the end will you follow me.”

“On November 11, 1994 at the Town Clock Inn I looked to my right and noticed a tall woman glowing with confidence and personality. She shined in the night  Like Chrome on a Coupe de Ville. And she was walking my way. I met Jane (Melssen) Mayne that night and my life has never been the same. We clicked like we had been lifelong friends. I had to invent a whole bunch of new adjectives to describe all these new feelings I never felt before. She fast became my best friend, my spiritual mentor, and most importantly, the love of my life. She knew instinctively how to make me feel so good.  Jane is the most fun I ever had. She makes almost everything fun. She is smart, sexy and a remarkably warm, wonderful woman with a huge heart. We have never had a fight, even after I let 3 marriage licenses expire and once backed out the day before the ceremony. I lovingly called her a subtle predator because she took license expirations and cold feet as a bump in the road, swallowed her pride, and never gave up on me. She hung in there and eventually wore me down. Finally, I convinced myself she was the real thing and she was NOT going to become my future ex wife. On April 24, 1998, we got married on the beach in Negril Jamaica ON THE 4th MARRIAGE LICENSE. (I was on an island. Where could I run?)  Marrying Jane in That Wedding Dress was Well Worth The Wait.”


“We found we could really talk, focus on the problems, and even disagree without fighting and feeling the resentment that comes from believing you lost the disagreement rather than solve the problem. People notice and often comment on how well we get along. My secret is:

“Always discuss your problems as friends, not adversaries, and never marry her until her parents are dead.”


They had many years of adventures together, most notably on Sugarloaf Mountain, Twin Brothers Mountain, and Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, his favorite place in the world. HE LOVED RIO! He said the night climb to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge was also spectacular. They were granted residency in the country of Uruguay. All they had to do was move there. They loved travel and adventure. Terry especially loved South America.


“You know you’re in Dubuque when your last name becomes a verb and nicknames acquired as an adult are born in secrecy and seldom flattering.”

He despised Dubuque in his adult life calling it an infestation of clans rather than a community, although his friends here were considered exceptional.  He stayed only because he loved his home and property looking up the river toward Dubuque from the St. Catherine ridge.                     “You can’t see the ugliness of Dubuque from here only the illusion of its beauty.”



His views on certain kinds of music were uniquely his.

“I always felt that the lowest form of human entertainment was throwing Christians to the lions until I listened to country music. After hearing a few (and I use the term loosely) songs, I opted to trade the Christians for everyone in the country music industry, and cheer for the lions.

Those steel guitar simulated tears are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I never felt enough emotional pain to resort to drinking my sorrows away and cryin’ the blues in some tavern while listening to some country bumpkin on a jukebox singing some loser country song about drinking HIS sorrows away and cryin’ the blues to anyone forced to listen to that usual country music soap opera crap. It just isn’t worth the quarter. Rap, hip hop, and opera have since been added to that list. Ya gotta play 3 chords and have a rhythm section to cut a groove in my world.”   “Music should lift your spirit, not spiral you into depression.”



“Life holds two kinds of truths. One is the kind that gets bent and manipulated to serve one’s self interest. The other is the one you carry inside and know is real. You should defy what is expected of you when you face up to that truth inside and realize that expected blind loyalty is the enemy of that  truth! A man who makes his own way stays his own man.”

Terry always trusted his instinct and never lost what was wild inside him. “It was fun being a motorcycle hood in my youth. It also felt good to grow out of it, although some old ways have come in handy as wisdom grew with age.”  He never shied away from taking a stand on the unpopular side of an issue. He especially hated political correctness, the politics of employment, social media, drugs, pigeon holing, pettiness, liars, politicians, Democrats, farm subsidies, and treating farming as way of  life rather than a business. As these issues raised his temper, his vocabulary became more colorful, as did his skin tone. His honesty was like a brick through a plate glass window. “If you don’t think you’ll like my opinion, then don’t leave an opportunity for me to give one.” He always spoke the truth and took responsibility for his actions, regardless of the consequences. “You don’t have to stand tall but you have to stand up, especially against popular social changes, (Marxism, Socialism, and Wokeness in particular). They are NOT for the better. I am unapologetically white, unapologetically American, proud of the man I’ve become, and I don’t give a damn who doesn’t like it.  Old fashion common sense, logic, and a conscience border on extinction lately.”

”The best way to alter your life is to alter your attitude! BUT  When you call down the thunder, be prepared to deal with the storm!! Never run when you’re right.

It ain’t easy being a National Treasure. I’m here to tell ya.”


His perception on life was —————— his:

“Living life is like driving a car. You want a safe smooth ride, turn on the cruise and gawk. You want real adventure and excitement; drive it like you stole it and really feel  that highway of life’s experiences, even if you crash once in a while. Speed limits are merely a suggestion. Unpaved roads, hills, and trails offer the most adventure .”

“BB King once said you only live but once and when you’re dead you’re done. I loved my life, lived it pretty much on my own terms and feared little. Just out of high school a friend of the Old Man gave me a piece of advice that stuck with me all through life. I still write it in every graduation and wedding card.  He told me that ”All the good things in life are on the other side of fear.”  He was so right. I took that advice and seldom looked back.  I never let envy or jealousy enter my life. I never lived a single moment vicariously through another person. .I tried not to allow any moments I imagined interfere with the moments I was experiencing. Those are the moments that are real and important. They made life more dynamic and enjoyable and it seldom disappointed me. I experienced very little sadness and regret. That’s why I loved my life so much.”

Besides Jane, travel and adventure, he loved animals, (especially dogs), Fords, his 1970 Cougar XR7 that he bought new and still owned, Daffy Duck and El Kabong. He Loved Music, especially A Cappella  Doo Wop, Carolina Beach Music, Boogie Blues, Jive and Big Band, Easy Listening, Brazilian Jazz, 70’s Disco, and the memories of the Eagle Point Roller Rink; the Studio 54 of our youth. “Disco definitely didn’t suck. That re creation of Jive and Big Bands with a constant speed turned big bands into a dance music machine again and I loved it. It was a great time to feel young again. I’m glad I was there when it happened. Music is one of the highlights of my life.     I hope it follows me eternally. ”


He loved watching animals play. He really loved watching their 2 labs, Hirsh and Sharkey play. They are 9 months difference in age. “I never saw 2 dogs bond and play like they did.  I could watch them for hours. After we brought Sharkey home I realized that we didn’t get a new puppy, Hirsh did.” The highlights of his autumn years also included enjoying the nightly panoramic view of the sunsets, the lights, sights, and sounds of the night, the view of the river (far enough away from the fish flies), the moon and the stars, all from his back yard with Jane by his side. “Some of the most breathtaking scenery can be found very close to home if you just choose to see it. I didn’t have to look very far.

I lived at the Shangri La of Eastern Iowa for the last 35 years.”


“There are 3 types of men. Those that should be fathers, those that shouldn’t be fathers, and those that KNOW they shouldn’t be fathers.”

He never had children. He always said “I never had the patience or that burning desire to be institutionalized in that asylum called parenthood and I don’t feel I missed a thing. I always knew my limitations on that lifestyle change.”


“Writing your own obituary is like making a date with the inevitable and hoping you get stood up.”

Writing his thoughts and observations about life as he saw it for an obit was a lot of fun and was inspired by the wit and wisdom of Yogi Berra. He said it was good for his soul. He hoped that reading his obit would make you stop and think, make you laugh, make you feel good about YOUR  life, and ease some of the anxiety knowing eventually something final this way comes. “What better way to leave a memorable impact on people after you die, (other than money and real estate) than your thoughts, stories, and experiences, written in your own inimitable style.”


He loved equating life’s experiences to certain sayings that summed the situation up poignantly or light heartedly as he expressed in the bold highlights. He had a great and off  the wall sense of humor. Some sayings were his originals. Some belonged to others. Some of his favorites are:


On how fast time passes he liked:

            “One night I went to bed a Rooster. The next morning I woke up a feather duster.”




On people saying “That has NEVER happened before”, he always responded with:               

“It never does until the first time.”



On suspicion, mistrust, and negativity, he loved:

“When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking.”


“Death is only my body leaving me.”

“I see death as a mystery. A soul moving to another dimension of existence, rather than the end to its life.  Who knows what adventure waits out there or what adventures we have previously experienced . I don’t believe in God, Satan, Heaven, Hell or anything termed divine, but I don’t consider myself an Atheist. I do believe in a higher flesh and blood intelligence, a soul, and that reincarnation is the engine of the universe. I believe that certain events in the bible and scripture are written accounts of misunderstood technology. People wrote about and made drawings of what they saw, but couldn’t explain; so they called them Gods, angels, and miracles. Any sufficiently advanced technology would be mistakenly seen as a miracle or something God like back then. There are no miracles, only advanced science. And that is what early civilizations saw. 21st century technology and perspective explains what they saw and were really trying to convey. Knowing this, how can we NOT question and challenge many of the centuries old  biblical edicts of organized religion? If and when God returns, I believe people will be taken aback at what and who He really is. He’ll arrive in a space ship just like he did long ago.”


“Let’s take the time we have left together and make the best times of our past the worst times of our future. What the hell have we got to loose.”

When Jane was diagnosed with multiple Myeloma, an incurable cancer, he had this observation:

“I saw depression set in. This was concerning because she is the most positive person I ever met. I told her don’t give up and wait for death, it will always find you when it’s your time. It’s not today, tomorrow, or even this year.

Don’t worry about dying. You’ll live through it.

Everything will be all right always. Your soul is eternal.”


He had two very personal favorite sayings:


When dealing with aches, pains, and deteriorating health conditions, He tried to lighten it up with:

“When I know about how much time I have left, I’ll start watching The View and Dancing With The Stars. The time I got left will SEEM longer.”








“Goodbye is always implied, until that day it isn’t. I wanted to die on my own terms, young and suddenly. But as life would have it, it took a bit longer. When I check out, it will be the end of an era, but  I’m on the right  side of goodbye, I’m cool  with it. The Old Man once said that whether you’re a prince or a pauper, a princess or a prostitute, there comes a time when ya gotta dance with the Grim Reaper. How you dance that final dance reflects how you lived your life. I prefer to lead and pick my song.”


He led that Grim Reapers’ conga line right up to that check out desk at the Hotel Adios on    September 5, 2022.


To honor Terry’s life, a private family service is being held.

One comment on “Terence G. “Terry” Jackson
  1. Mary Sieckman says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I’m here for when ever you need a shoulder. Love always. Mary

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